Back in the early 1980s I often had to work a 1400-2200 shift, or two to ten as the Old Bill called it. With a bit of overtime I often didn’t get home until midnight. No worries, I was well paid and the underground from St James’s Park to Buckhurst Hill ran until nearly 0100.
This meant I woke up around eight and had the dubious pleasure of watching TV-AM before I returned to work. Anne Diamond, Nick Owen and Lizzie Webb. Plus the fitness guru that was Mr Motivator, aka Derrick Evans.
Mr Motivator used to wear a lycra-based outfit that wouldn’t look out of place on Rupaul’s Drag Race. He was funny and I’m sure he genuinely encouraged a few folks to get off their butts. I found him hugely entertaining in his way.
But I reckon that City have topped even him this season. Take this recent quote from Tim Krul (shamelessly robbed from Archant’s Paddy Davitt) on the squad’s motivation:
“I’ve already started with Jamal. I said to him we love each other at the moment – and then we’re going to hate each other next year because it’s going to be hard, hard graft and we’re going to shout at each other. But that’s what it’s all about.
“The partnerships we’re going to have to build, we’ve already got. We have got a foundation. But it’s going to be horrible at times as well. We know that.
“The confidence we can take out of this season is humungous and I can’t wait until June 13 for the Premier League fixtures to come out.
“Listen, we will have to learn quickly next season because yes, we play some great football – but we have to be realistic. Some risks we’ve taken, in the Premier League you might get slaughtered.
“We got away with a little bit of naivety this season sometimes. But in pre-season we will definitely speak about that – because you don’t get many chances in the Premier League.”
In terms of motivation Krul has been nothing less than excellent all season. Sure, Kevin Keelan and Bryan Gunn knew how to orchestrate the crowd, but not to the extent of Krul. He has perfected the art and we love him for it.
Then when we add in Timm Klose, Grant Hanley and particularly Jordan Rhodes, none of whom have featured on the pitch as much as they would have liked, we can see the chemistry (opposition supporters might call it alchemy) within our squad.
Self-belief installed by vastly experienced footballers and passed on to the young lads on the pitch as Krul’s words amply illustrate.
Christoph Zimmermann physically and vocally organising the back four and Ben Godfrey celebrating every goal like he’d just won the lottery – which in a certain sense he has. The entire football world knows just who he is now.
Godfrey recently said words to the effect of: if you’re coming to join us, you’ll have to fit in. That’s terrific, especially from such a young guy.
The obvious camaraderie between the “front four” was also a joy to behold, although Stieperdude’s goal celebrations remain something of a mystery to me!
And that’s without mention of Stuart Webber or Daniel Farke and his coaching team. Motivation starts from the top and oh boy those guys know what they are doing in all respects, especially the crucial one of providing inspiration.
There was an old film about the battle of Waterloo where more or less the final scene showed Napoleon’s “Old Guard” surrounded by Wellington and Blucher’s troops. They were given the choice: surrender or die for your emperor. For those readers that didn’t see the film not one soldier broke ranks and they were annihilated.
A slightly strange comparison, but that’s how I’ve felt about our squad all season and why I do not fear for Norwich City in the Premier League.
Sure we’ve been there several times before as a club but apart from Krul the rest of the current squad haven’t.
They’ll prove themselves at the highest level – I am confident of that.
After the Parade, I doubt Mayor McLean could have woken up in time for night duty, let alone a two to ten. But he thoroughly deserved every moment of it, as did they all.
It’ll be hard going but I reckon we’ll have enough good moments to thoroughly enjoy next season.